Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's like going for it on fourth down in
your team's territory and running a reverse.
The payoff can be a first down which makes you look great, even smarter than
If you come up short, though, you leave yourself open to second-guessing.
And, oh, can there be a lot in Newark, Del.
New University of Delaware athletic director Eric Ziady has made such a bold
play call by hiring Rutgers offensive coordinator Dave Brock to be only the
Blue Hens' fifth head football coach in the last 74 years.
The 45-year-old Brock, introduced on Friday as the school's new head coach,
appears ready to take over a program and be successful. He's had 24 seasons on
the sidelines to prepare himself.
But he has never been a head coach nor does he have a Delaware pedigree as
either a player or assistant coach.
And that's where a problem could fact in for Ziady.
Win big and the tough Blue Hens fan base will love Brock. Anything less and
people will want to know why Ziady tried to find the next best thing in
coaching and not follow a generally tried and true path to success - the known
quantity of past head coaches.
Delaware's tradition-rich program has had only nine losing seasons over the
last 70 years, and the last two Blue Hens head coaches bled the blue and gold.
Tubby Raymond was a Blue Hens assistant before his long run as head coach
(1966-2001), which included three national championship seasons. His former
linebacker K.C. Keeler then succeeded him and averaged eight wins a season
over 11 years, winning the 2003 FCS (then NCAA Division I-AA) national title
and guiding the program to two appearances in the national final.
Brock comes highly recommended and respected over 24 years as an assistant
coach, but he only knows the Blue Hens program from afar. He was an assistant
for Hofstra, Delaware's former CAA Football rival, in 1995 and from 1997-2001.
Although Delaware underwent a national search for a head coach after Keeler's
firing on Jan. 7 - attracting over 60 inquiries from coaches - Ziady apparently
didn't need to cast his fishing pole into deep waters. As a former assistant
athletic director at Boston College, Ziady worked alongside Brock, who was the
Eagles' tight ends coach from 2009-11, and he clearly had his eye on Brock from
"In the end, I ended up where I started, Dave Brock," Ziady said. "He's the
first coach I called last week to gauge his interest in this position because I
believe strongly he is a great fit for this athletic department and this
"He's disciplined and passionate, dynamic and energetic, knowledgeable and
experienced. He will recruit excellent students and athletes to Delaware, and
he'll play an exciting brand of football with an aggressive approach."
Brock may step right in and win immediately. In fact, he probably should. He
inherits a veteran, talent-filled team, albeit one that began this past season
with four straight wins before falling off to a 5-6 finish amid a myriad of
injuries, especially on the defensive line and at linebacker, and lost
opportunities in the fourth quarter of games.
He's considered to be organized with a strong offensive mind and recruiting
abilities. He's considered to be, well, a winner. Which is what Delaware
football is all about.
"Coach Keeler did a great job. I'm confident that we have the building blocks
in place to win in 2013, and forward," Brock said.
"Our football team will carry the motto, which I've already told 'em, 'Together
That motto shouldn't just be about Delaware and Brock, it's the link for Ziady
and Brock. First down, here they come.
The Sports Network